Despite commencing the CAF Women’s Champions League (CAF WCL) quarter-final mission on the back pedal, JKT Queens remain optimistic to do well in their next two matches.
The Tanzania envoys picked a 2-0 defeat from former champions Mamelodi Sundowns in their group A opener at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Cote D’Ivoire on Sunday night.
Following the downfall, JKT Queens have to shine in their remaining two games to boost their chances of sliding into the semifinals of the lucrative women’s football showdown on the continent.
JKT coach Esther Chaburuma felt pivotal moments went against her youthful Tanzanian team on their Champions League bow.
“Sundowns capitalized on their opportunities which we didn’t,” she reflected. “Experience also played a role and we made rookie mistakes.”
But Chaburuma believes JKT will learn from testing themselves against the continent’s elite in Cote d’Ivoire.
On her part the team’s skipper Amina Bilali conceded the defeat saying their opponents were much better than them on the day but, she insisted on coming back stronger in their next fixture.
“Today (Sunday), was not a good day for us after losing our first match of the competition…we lacked concentration, especially in the final third of our opponents hence could not manage to score.
“I believe our coaches have seen where we went wrong and will use that as a platform to make us come stronger in our next game to cherish maximum points,” Amina said.
It was the first time for the two sides to exchange tackles on the pitch and the South African representatives were the first team to put hands on the CAFWCL title in 2021 and in last year’s edition which unfolded in Morocco, they were runners up.
Second-half goals from Lebogang Ramalepe and Refilwe Tholakele earned the South African giants an opening Group A, win at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
Sundowns quickly asserted their authority and experience against first-timers JKT as Ramalepe fired them ahead on 41 minutes.
The Queens contained further damage before the break but the Pretoria club never lost control of an absorbing contest.
Tholakele then wrapped up a vital three points by clinically beating goalkeeper Najat Abass Idrissa on 75 minutes.
Up next, JKT Queens will interface with Athletico Abidjan tomorrow in their second assignment before winding up the group stage mission versus Sporting Casablanca on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Sundowns turn their focus to topping the group when they take on Sporting Club de Casablanca next.
To qualify for the CAF WCL finals, the country’s envoys clinched the CECAFA tournament and are battling to make a record of becoming the first Tanzania team to win the prestigious title.
Aside from winning the CECAFA trophy, JKT Queens also claimed last season’s women’s premier league in fascinating style as they enjoyed an unbeaten run to accomplish their mission.
However, it is a successful development of Tanzania’s women’s football as two teams have made successive appearances at the CAFWCL finals after Simba Queens who finished in the fourth slot last year.
Efforts are therefore required to make a third appearance in the contest next year until the lucrative championship makes its way on Tanzania soil.